Easter treats from VfL
In the week leading up to Easter, Ollie and I have been busy cooking up a storm in Manchester and London.
Over the past 5 days we had a go at chocolate-making (turns out it’s easy, but very messy) alongside baking and packaging over 150 carrot and date muffins. These were 'shipped' to our VfL colleagues for deliveries to care homes in England and Scotland.
Amanda and I began our delivery journey heading west of Manchester, to Bolton, Wigan and Leigh. On our second day of deliveries, we went north and east through Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, Rochdale and Audenshaw. We personally visited 20 care homes, and from our visits we were made aware that while the majority of residents are meat-eaters, they do enjoy meat-free dishes. We spoke with head chefs, activities coordinators, managers and catering staff about the work of VfL, and how we could assist each other in the provision of plant-based meals, and support the lifestyle choices of older vegetarians and vegans.
Over the 2 days, we located a handful of vegetarian residents, which tallies with our survey finding that 1 in every 4 care homes already cater for people who do not consume meat or animal products. We discussed the rise in dietary changes and choices, and spoke at length about good practice, so that staff are better prepared even if current residents follow a meat-based diet.
What’s the reason behind such care home visits? During seasonal holidays and special occasions, we reach out to care homes that are not on our UK List as well as homes that have pledged to follow our Code of Good Practice. Inviting new care homes is always fun and interesting, and it’s nice to revisit old ones to see how things are going. We wouldn’t want to visit empty handed, so the tradition is to come prepared with edible gifts that we make ourselves. The recipes for these are available in our publications and on our website, so they can be made easily at home or in any professional kitchen.
So, for Easter, Ollie and I made vegan carrot and date muffins and a variety of homemade chocolates, such as lime and cinnamon, fruit and nut, and peanut butter blocks. If you’re interested in recreating the muffins then the recipe is below. We hope that you enjoy them, and wish you a very happy Easter!
Vegan Carrot and Date Muffins
Adapted from a recipe by Demuths
350ml soya milk
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g vegan margarine
150g brown sugar
250g grated carrots
40g desiccated coconut
1 lemon zest and juice
1½ tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
350g self-raising flour
- Simmer the dates in the soya milk until soft, then puree. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
- Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Stir in the dates, grated carrots, coconut, lemon zest and spices.
- Finally fold in the flour and lemon juice.
- Pour into a muffin tin lined with cupcake cases and bake for around 25 minutes at 175°C/350°F/gas mark 4 until firm to the touch.
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